Is Stephen Drew the Right Fit in Boston?
From the moment after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, fans everywhere began debating who would be back in 2014. Boston expected to see Ellsbury walk away, and to a certain extent, Saltalamacchia as well, due to his lackluster postseason performance. In the off-season, Boston has been extremely disciplined, avoiding large contracts and filling the small voids they had, with low cost players like Jonathan Herrera and Burke Badenhop. However, one area they have not completely addressed is the hole at shortstop. If the season were to begin today, fans would see Will Middlebrooks starting at third and Xander Bogaerts at shortstop. While these players have excelled far beyond their age, many are questioning if the lack of experience will hurt Boston’s offensive production in 2014.
So how can they bolster the left side of the infield without breaking their bank? Boston did go after the aforementioned Herrera to act as a utility-man to the left side of the field, but this was done because the market for free agent shortstops was extremely thin. In fact, of the remaining free agent shortstops that played in 2013, other than Drew, none of them hit more than 10 homeruns or more than 25 RBIs (Drew had 13 HR and 67 RBIs in 2013). The Red Sox did tender Stephen Drew a one year, $14.1 million dollar offer, but the 30 year old player was looking for more. Drew is represented by notorious player agent Scott Boras; a man who is known to sign lengthy, fat contracts. Boras has signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo both to a seven year contract this off-season, but Drew has seemed to be almost forgotten, as he too was looking for a long-term deal.
In order to maximize their offensive production, Drew and Boston need to reunite for another season. Drew did have one of his best offensive seasons in 2013 hitting .253 with 29 doubles, 13HR. He also produced a valuable WAR (wins against replacement), at 3.1. The New York Mets were thought to be the lead runners for Drew, but have since stated that they are happy with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop. Now Drew has only one real option that works, the Red Sox. And for Ben Cherington, this works out great. A one year deal with Drew will provide a strong offensive boost to the club, and allow Middlebrooks and Bogaerts to mature for one more season. After 2014, Boston can readdress the shortstop situation, and if all goes well, Bogaerts and Middlebrooks will be ready to start in 2015 and have Drew’s money utilized elsewhere.
- Ted Carbone is a Staff Writer/MLB Insider for ProSportsExtra.com
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